Years ago, I started teaching cooking classes in my kitchen. At that time I belonged to a welcoming group called “New Neighbors of Germantown”. This group was a great way to met new people in the community. We had LOTS of different activities in this organization.
One of my “new neighbor” friends was traveling to Connecticut for a visit. I asked her to bring me a couple bottles of faucet water, yes water (for my pizza, of course). As a thank you I made her a pizza, brought it over to her home nice and hot. Here reply was “you have to teach us how to make this”. So, I became an activity for New Neighbors, “Cooking Adventures in Galena’s Cucina” (Gail’s Kitchen). I had NO idea where that path would take me!
Classes in my kitchen became out of control…I would have more than 25-30 ladies in attendance and not enough room for them. Another friend from this group recommended me to the owner of a quaint gift store in Germantown (Gift Horse) that also hosted cooking classes. I was so excited to teach there and having the opportunity to met so many wonderful people!
One recipe that really reminds me of that school is “Tomato Basil Pie”. I can remember teaching that class almost 10 years ago; people are still talking about it! This recipe is perfect for this time of the year. Fresh garden tomatoes and basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, yum! I hope you enjoy it as much as my “Gift Horse” class did!
Pie Crust (You can also use a frozen store-bought crust or mini pie crusts)
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sour cream
4-5 basil leaves
couple dashes of salt
In food processor with knife blade process butter and basil leaves until smooth.
Add flour, salt and sour cream. Process until mixture balls up. Chill for 1/2 hour
for better handling of the dough. Place on floured pastry sheet or board and roll
out to fit a 9” pie pan. Place shield or wrap edges in foil to prevent over browning
during the baking of the pie. Cook in pre-heated 425° oven until slightly golden,
about 10 minutes.
1 9” pie crust
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano, or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
10 Roma tomatoes, or garden tomatoes, skins removed*, chopped and drained
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive
Salt & Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
While pie crust is warm, place 1 cup mozzarella on top of crust. Layer tomatoes
and sprinkle with, salt & pepper. In separate bowl mix basil, garlic, remaining
mozzarella, romano or parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. Place on top of tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 375° for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let pie cool at least 15 minutes for easier cutting.
*Cut an X on the bottom (pointy end) of the tomato and place in a pot of rapidly boiling
water. The tomato skin will begin to peel, about 1 minute. Remove from heat
and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Peel skin under running cold water.
You can always add wonderful ingredients to the filling, fresh sautéed mushrooms, some cooked bacon, black olives, red pepper flakes. You are only limited by your imagination!
Recently I made this wonderful recipe for my “Live at 9” demonstration, here’s the link:
The only bad thing about being a member of New Neighbors is so many friends move away, but I guess that’s part of life!